This is a guest blog contributed by Dr. Manikandan G.R., Junior resident at Government Dental College, Trivandrum. Dr. Manikandan has previously published many research papers as well as articles for newspapers and magazines.
Read part 1 here.
SERVICES BY A DENTIST
Dental care includes diagnostic services, preventive services, therapeutic services and emergency services for dental disease which, if left untreated, may become acute dental problems or may cause irreversible damage to the teeth or supporting structures. The dental conditions of primary concern during childhood include dental caries (tooth decay) and problems related to disturbances of growth and development. Periodontal diseases and other conditions affecting the soft tissues within the mouth and underlying bone, often related to systemic health problems, also affect oral health in a smaller percentage of children.
Because children remain at varying levels of risk for dental diseases and developmental disturbances, and because the best outcomes are achieved when these conditions are detected and treated early, periodic examinations at intervals commensurate with levels of risk are recommended for all children starting at an early age and continuing throughout childhood and adolescence. The often insidious onset of dental diseases requires that practitioners responsible for children’s oral health understand underlying disease processes and have the training, experience, and equipment necessary to accurately diagnose and manage common dental diseases and, when necessary, provide a range of therapeutic services to restore damaged structures.
PREVENTIVE SERVICES BY THE DENTIST
1.Dietary fluoride supplements
3.Professional topical fluoride application
4.Oral hygiene counselling
5.Topical antimicrobial agents
6.Pit and fissure sealants
7. Space maintenance and habit discontinuation appliances
8. Combination interventions for primary caries prevention or for reversing or arresting the progression of carious lesions
9. Protective mouth and face guards for children engaged in sports activities
DIAGNOSTIC SERVICES BY THE DENTIST
Accurate and early diagnosis is an essential prerequisite for successful control and treatment of dental diseases and developmental disturbances. When a general screening examination indicates the need for further evaluation of an individual’s health, a referral for diagnostic studies is to be provided without delay. However, the relatively high prevalence of dental diseases and abnormalities in infants and children and the limited sensitivity of current screening procedures provide strong clinical justification for children receiving diagnostic examinations by a dentist beginning at an early age.
TREATMENT SERVICES BY THE DENTIST
Oral diseases are progressive and cumulative and, if left untreated, become more complex and difficult to manage over time. The dental therapeutic services must include dental care, at as early an age as necessary, needed for relief of pain and infections, restoration of teeth, and maintenance of dental health. A partial list of dental treatment services includes:
- Pulp therapy for permanent and primary teeth – e.g., root canal treatments;
- Restoration of carious (decayed) permanent and primary teeth with materials and techniques that meet current accepted practices – e.g., plastic and metal fillings and stainless steel crowns;
- Scaling to control gingival and periodontal diseases;
- Maintenance of space for missing posterior primary and permanent teeth to prevent or minimize problems in eruption of permanent teeth – e.g., fixed and removable space maintainers;
- Provision of removable prosthesis (partial and complete dentures) when masticatory (chewing) function is impaired, or when the condition interferes with employment training or social development; and
- Orthodontic treatment when medically necessary to correct handicapping.